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Friday, October 31, 2008

Details on the Gifted and Talented Program

The Gifted and Talented information is out.
You can pick up Instruction Booklets that contain a portion of a sample test, instructions and a "Request for Testing" application at your local elementary school or any DOE Enrollment Office. (There is an Enrollment Office in Brooklyn Tech High School on South Elliott between DeKalb and Lafayette. Go to the door with the handicap ramp and the office is downstairs) You can also download the instructions and Request for Testing (but not the sample test) online.
Make sure that you get the appropriate booklet for your child's age.

The Request for Testing form is due Nov. 19 and must be hand delivered. If your child is currently enrolled in a public school, deliver it to the school. The DOE has suggested to the schools that they have a book to sign as proof that you delivered the form. Your school may or may not follow their suggestion, but it doesn't hurt to ask. If your child is not currently enrolled in a PS, hand deliver the form to the Enrollment Office and make sure that you get a receipt.

The testing will take place in Jan. and Feb. The children already enrolled in a public school will take the test during the school day at their school, but not necessarily with their teacher. All other children will be tested on a Saturday or Sunday. The test is made up of two parts, the OLSAT and BRSA. The sample test that is included in the booklet is the OLSAT portion which counts for 75% of the grade. The OLSAT is not like the ERB or Stanford Binet. The student can do very well without talking at all. It is all about listening and managing concepts, not verbal expression. The other part of the test is comprised of a colorful flip book that deals with things like color, shapes and sizes. The test for K has fewer questions than the test for 1st grade and takes about 25 - 40 minutes depending on the child. A child that is testing into K is seen on a one on one basis and there is no need for the child to fill in their own bubbles (let the test taker do it. It tires the kids out) Children applying for 1st Grade are seen in groups of 5 and need to fill in their own bubbles. Children are graded by small age increments, e.g. 4yrs 0 months and 4yrs 2 months are graded together.

You should take the opportunity to tour the schools that have G & T programs in your District now, even though you won't have to decide which schools you would like until you receive your child's results in the spring. If your child scores in the 90th percentile or higher they will be offered a seat in one of the programs within your school District. If they score at the 97th percentile or higher they may be offered a seat in a citywide G &T school. The city is opening a citywide G & T school in Brooklyn next fall, but the location is not decided yet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Middle School Information

Bay Academy has closed admissions to students outside of District 21 for 2009.
Mark Twain is still open to students from all over Brooklyn.

There were rumors about MS 447, The Math and Science Exploratory School in District 15. Everything is the same there. If you live in District 15 you may apply. If you attend a District 15 elementary and live outside of the District, you are entitled to an application (in District 15 or your home District, but not both) If you attend private school and live in District 15 you may apply.
They are having their first open house on Sat. Nov. 8 at 9am. Daytime tour schedules will be announced later.

There is also the new 6-12 Brooklyn Prospect Charter School that is open to 88 students who reside in District 15 only.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Middle School in Brooklyn

I have received worried emails from parents that the public middle school process may be changing. I am investigating, but so far there is no sign that anything is changing in the middle school process. There is a new Charter School in District 15 for new 6th graders, but there is no sign at this point that Bay Academy and Mark Twain are changing their admissions policies. The general process was horribly late last year in part because OSEPO was overloaded by the change in G&T and PreK admissions earlier in the year.

Here is the current public school Middle School Calendar:
Nov. 24, Dec. 11 - Mark Twain open houses 1-3pm or 6:30-8:30pm, check their website.
Early Dec. - MS Directories and applications distributed to families.
Dec. 2-11 - MS Fairs.
Jan. 9 - MS applications due to elementary schools.
Early May - Decision letters distributed to families.
May 15 - Appeals due to elementary schools.
Mid June - Appeal decisions distributed to families.

The Bay Academy information is not on line yet. More information about Twain will be available shortly at the Admissions page of their website.

Independent middle school application and admissions do not correspond with the public middle school admissions. You will need to make your decisions about Independent School placements long before the public placements come in.
Bay Ridge Prep MS open houses - Oct. 23, Nov. 13, Nov. 15, RSVP online

Berkeley Carroll open houses:
Tues. Oct. 21 and Nov. 5, reserve your spot

Brooklyn Friends MS open house is full.
6th grade application deadline is Dec. 12, 4pm.

Packer Collegiate accepts middle schoolers at Grade 5

Poly Prep accepts middle schoolers at Grades 5 and 6.
Applications received after Dec. 1 may not be considered in the first round of admissions.

St. Ann's
Middle School is not a regular point of entry.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Okay 5th graders, check this out. It is another public middle school option for students who live in District 15.
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will be choosing students from District 15 in a true lottery (no special provisions made for gender balance or diversity, although they are hoping for it-it should happen organically) They will pick students who live in District 15 (it seems that those of you who live outside the district and go to elementary within the district will probably be out of luck because of priorities set by state regulations for Charter schools) They will start with a 6th grade of 88 students (4 classes of 22) and add a grade each year through 12th grade. There will be a waiting list and that list will probably have some movement. The lottery will take place on April 7 and you will hear about placements in mid April. Signing up for the lottery doesn't impact your choice list for the rest of the district middle schools. This is a separate process. You can sign up for the lottery right now online under the student section.

What this means is that there is another option, outside of the regular middle school process. You can essentially get two local placements in the spring and be able to choose between them, as well as any placements outside the district that you are pursuing.

They will follow the International Baccalaureate program and hope to be certified within 5 years. There is a big emphasis placed on a holistic approach to learning and integrating disiplines. A 30 minute a day Advisory with a faculty mentor will be an important component to help students work on their literacy and study skills. They aspire to provide PE daily. Visual Art will be part of the core curriculum with other artistic disiplines introduced through a partnership with BAM. The Board is recruiting experienced teachers with at least three years experience and Masters Degrees. There is an Executive Director (who lives in the neighborhood) who comes to the job with an impressive track record of teaching as well as working in school administration. He will act as a general manager. The Principal of the Middle School has longtime experience teaching and leading programs as well as being trained in the IB program. The Board of the school is made up of educators and business leaders and will have a parent member.

There will be no uniforms. The calendar will follow the regular DOE schedule with additional afterschool tutoring and a Summer Academy. The language taught will be Spanish. The jury is still out on whether they will have captive lunch or not. Because the program will be academically rigorous, homework will be a factor, but because teachers will work closely together, it shouldn' t be overwhelming. The location is not finalized yet. The location will be made public before students chosen in the lottery will have to accept their seats. The Board is hoping for a location close to BAM to make it easy to participate in their arts programs.